Oaksterdam and Oaksterdam University - by c.a. riley
On the north end of downtown Oakland, California, bordered approximately by 14th street on the southwest, Harrison Street on the southeast, 19th Street on the northeast, and Telegraph Avenue on the northwest is a cultural district where—until legislative changes passed in 2005 limited the number of dispensaries allowed—a wide variety of medical cannabis products could be purchased at reasonable prices. This district is known as Oaksterdam.
Since the 2005 legislative measures took effect, cannabis has remained legally available to patients in the neighborhood having proper documentation from their physicians, but there are now only four dispensaries in the entire city.
The name ‘Oaksterdam’ is, obviously, a combination of Oakland and Amsterdam, the Dutch city famous for its tolerance of cannabis use. This portmanteau was coined by AIDS patient Jim McClelland, a founding member of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club and the Berkeley Patients Group, following the suggestion of fellow activist Andrew Glazier that the neighborhood should have a name.
Office and residential buildings with unique historic architecture characterize the Oaksterdam neighborhood, along with many ground floor retail shops, restaurants and cafes. On the northwest corner of 15th and Webster, the original location of the Oakland YWCA, stands a Julia-Morgan-designed building. Another notable building in the neighborhood, in Latham Square at the intersection of Broadway and Telegraph, is the Cathedral Building, an ornate, historic Flatiron Building.
Other features of the Oaksterdam District include, on 15th street, a bicycle rental service and shop which also has a glass-blowing school with classes; Lincoln University, a small business school, at 15th and Franklin; and Oaksterdam University on 19th Street, which specializes in teaching medical-cannabis-related classes. Oakstercabs, a pedi-cab service, is a newcomer offering services to pedestrians around the downtown area, and serves students of Oaksterdam University and its employees as well.
The rich variety of coffee shops, cafes, a tea shop, a gift shop and other small retailers in the Oaksterdam District are attractive to cannabis tourists and are easily accessible to a BART station and AC Transit connections.
Ever since visiting the Cannabis College Amsterdam, patient Richard Lee had dreamed of opening a trade school for the cannabis industry in Oakland. In November 2007 his dream was fulfilled with the founding of Oaksterdam University. While the Amsterdam College curriculum focuses primarily on horticulture, Oaksterdam University offers a more comprehensive curriculum focusing on the entire cannabis trade.
To attract students to the new University, Lee advertised in the East Bay Express with the startling announcement, “Cannabis Industry Now Hiring.” He didn’t have to wait long for responses to start coming in: he received more than 200 phone calls in the first week. Only 20 of the callers were fortunate enough to get into the first classes—taught by some legendary reformers: Richard Lee, Chris Conrad, Lawrence Lichter and Dennis Peron. Classes included Cooking, Concentrates, Horticulture, Legal Issues and Politics.
It didn’t take long for Oaksterdam University to gain the attention of media around the globe, and soon afterward OU had a three-month waiting list for classes, with demand steadily growing. The school outgrew its tiny facilities on 15th street and had to relocate to a larger classroom on Broadway where class size and frequency increased considerably.
At first, classes were held on weekends only, but demand soon necessitated the addition of semester-length classes on weekday evenings. Lee next opened a satellite school in Los Angeles in 2008, which was well-received by the large cannabis community there.
Oaksterdam U’s next new home was far away—in Ann Arbor, Michigan! A weekend seminar was
conducted there after Michigan passed its medical cannabis law, and following an overwhelming response, the first Oaksterdam University/Michigan class was held in May, 2009. Subsequently, the first Oaksterdam campus outside California was established in Flint, Michigan. For more information on OU/Michigan please visit http://www.oaksterdamuniversity.com/michigan.html.
On the heels of the success in Michigan, OU expanded again, in Sebastopol, California, with the establishment of the North Bay campus in the Peace in Medicine building.
Demand continued to accelerate and, celebrating two successful years, Oaksterdam University relocated in November, 2009 to its current home at 1600 Broadway in Oakland. The new campus features numerous classrooms, a grow lab, two auditoriums and a theater and occupies 30,000 square feet. More than 10,000 students have attended classes at the University’s California and Michigan campuses.
As more states attain safe access for patients, and demand for medical cannabis instruction continues to increase, one cannot help but wonder whether there will one day be an Oaksterdam University campus in their locale.
Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Richard Lee - by c.a. riley
As a youngster growing up in Houston with four brothers, Richard Lee liked to play many action sports. Later, when he was old enough to drive, he enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle around Houston and to nearby Pearland, Texas. He also flew ultra-light aircraft and was a master of the ski slope.
Unfortunately, when he was 27 and working as a lighting technician, Lee fell from a scaffold, breaking his back and becoming paralyzed from the waist down—a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair. He began suffering complications, including pain and sleeplessness, from the injury and began to think about suicide.
While he was undergoing rehabilitation at a Houston facility, Lee happened to see a news article about the usefulness of cannabis therapy for the treatment of chronic pain in paralyzed patients. At that time, the standard treatment for these conditions was large doses of Valium, which can be quite debilitating. Lee says that people would become “Valium zombies,” staying home all day, but “when they switched to cannabis, they'd go back to college, get married.”
Shortly after discovering cannabis therapy, Lee and a partner opened Legal Marijuana - The Hemp Store, a boutique in the Montrose area which sold hemp clothing and legal pot-related items and, in 1992, was one of the first hemp product retail outlets in the United States. Lee began his cannabis-advocating activities at this time.
When California voters made medical cannabis legal, Lee moved to the Bay Area in 1997 and began working in this new industry, co-founding the Hemp Research Company which supplied cannabis to the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club. At this time, Lee also began researching efficient, environmentally-friendly cannabis production.
In 1999, Lee opened the second cannabis outlet, the Bulldog Coffeeshop, in the Oaksterdam District, and in 2003, he founded the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance. This was the PAC that passed Measure Z in Oakland, making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis the lowest law enforcement priority.
Lee published the Oaksterdam News from 2005 to 2007, a quarterly newspaper with a circulation of more than 100,000, before going on to found Oaksterdam University in November, 2007, and in 2008 he provided funding for the new monthly magazine, West Coast Cannabis, with a circulation around 30,000.
Richard Lee has served on the City of Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance Commission since 2005. This group was created after the passage of Measure Z in 2004. Lee manages several Oaksterdam companies as well. His dedication to ending cannabis prohibition has been a significant factor in the revitalization and economic growth of the City of Oakland.
Never satisfied with his accomplishments, Lee organized the effort to have full marijuana legalization on the California ballot in 2010. In November, voters will decide whether cannabis prohibition is over in California. If the measure does not pass, it will not be because one mobility-challenged individual did not give his all. Thank you so very much, Richard Lee.
Alabama: Considering a medical marijuana law.
HB642 - The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act of Alabama
Arkansas: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Connecticut: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Delaware: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Florida: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
Idaho: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Illinois: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Bill Status of SB1381
Iowa: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Kansas: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
Marijuana Bill Reaches House
Maryland: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Bill Status of SB 627
Massachusetts: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Minnesota: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Missouri: Considering a medical marijuana law.
HOUSE BILL NO. 1670 - An Act relating to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes
Cottleville Mayor Don Yarber hopes Missouri legislature passes medical marijuana law
New Hampshire: Considering a medical marijuana law.
New York: Considering a medical marijuana law.
North Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Ohio: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Pennsylvania: Considering a medical marijuana law.
South Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.
South Dakota: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.
Tennessee: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Texas: Considering a medical marijuana law.
Wisconsin: Considering a medical marijuana law.
The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act
Featured Recipe - Cannabis Elixir by James Freire, M.A.
This is a re-creation of an old remedy from the 1800’s. It involves suspending the cannabinoids in sugar syrup in what is known as a micellized solution. This is a very easy process similar to making candy but one should use care when evaporating alcohol (a distillation device makes this part very nice).
To begin, thoroughly dry the herb to be used and make a strong tincture (190 proof is best). Grind it to a powder and then just cover with alcohol and let it stand somewhere dark for a couple weeks. After this is done strain the alcohol from the herb and save it. The herb is now spent and can be thrown out. Place the tincture in a double boiler over ELECTRIC heat and reduce the volume in half. After this add ˝ the remaining volume of tincture in honey or some other syrup and 4-6 vitamin E caps (e.g.: if you have 2 quarts of tincture after reducing you would add 1 quart of honey). This is when you can add other herb tinctures and flavors (I use a root beer flavor base). Continue to reduce the volume with constant stirring until you have nearly boiled it down to the original volume of syrup that you began with. Let this cool and bottle in dark glass, then store in the refrigerator. Depending on the original strength of the herb, the dosage should be between a teaspoon and a couple tablespoons.
This basic recipe can be used to create an elixir from any tincture and the basic cannabis elixir can be modified for specific ailments. For example, adding syrup of elderberry makes this without a doubt the most effective treatment for influenza that exists. Kava can be added for greater pain control and sedation. With a little study of herbal medicine you can customize the blend for specific ailments. There are many uses for this syrup, but my family has come to rely on it as our sole treatment for colds and flu when made with elderberry and cats claw.